It takes the perfect combination of cabbage, meat, and vegetables to make the perfect egg roll. The popular appetizer is a favorite complement to most Chinese dishes, and it could make or break a restaurant's ranking with the person doing the eating. Patch editors asked our Facebook fans which restaurant's egg rolls rock their world, and then I tested them out myself. Which place had the rocking-est rolls?
Chen's Chinese Cuisine, Tinley Park
Chen's was first up. I decided that to test the exteriors of the rolls, I would cut each in half to check out crust thickness and crispiness. The Chen's egg roll sliced easily, with a crunch, and I could see that the dough had been laid on thick and fried thoroughly. The shrimp pieces and cabbage looked evenly proportioned, and I bit in expecting a perfect balance of the two. With a quick dip in sweet-and-sour sauce, I crunched into the roll and found a well-balanced combination of veggies and shrimp. The roll was shorter than the other two, but was thicker and packed with ingredients.
Thumbs Up: Huge fan of the crust. It was thick and crispy. Helped the egg roll stay together for easy, non-greasy eating.
Thumbs Down: Even though the ingredients were pretty evenly distributed within the roll, there wasn't a very strong overall flavor.
#1 Chop Suey, Oak Forest
At first slice, I thought I would be less impressed with this sample. Compared to Chen's, the crust was noticeably thinner and less crispy. And I didn't notice many large shrimp pieces as in Chen's. More of the filling seemed to be cabbage, and I wasn't sure what to expect, taste-wise. But a bite later, I found myself eager for another, and another. With more vegetables stuffed into this roll, the flavor was stronger than Chen's, which made up for the thinner crust. I seemed to taste a bit of pepper in this one, which could have boosted the flavor right up to where I liked it.
Thumbs Up: More cabbage actually worked well in this roll. It made up for the thinner crust.
Thumbs Down: Could have used a bit more meat (or shrimp) to complement the veggies. But for a vegetable fan, this one was quite tasty.
Mo's Chinese Kitchen, Orland Park
I've eaten at Mo's before, and I recalled liking their rolls. I wiped my palate clean, though, before sampling the last on our list. The veggie and meat mix in this one fell somewhere between the previous two: not as much meat as Chen's, less cabbage and veggies than #1 Chop Suey. The thicker crust (closer to Chen's) gave it the edge over #1 in that category, but it could have used a bit more flavor. The veggies were a bit crunchier and tasted a little fresher than the other two.
Thumbs Up: Similarly thick crust like Chen's.
Thumbs Down: Needs a standout ingredient or flavor. Not as memorable as a roll could be.
And the Winner Is....
The name says it all: "They're #1! They're #1!" Oak Forest's nominee walks away with top prize this week. The flavor-packed roll made the best impression on me—and I'm a huge egg roll fan. Ultimately, the pick comes down to personal preference. Do you prefer more meat, or more veggies? Crunchier crust, or thinner and softer? #1 Chop Suey's had the most competitive combination of the three we sampled.
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